Learning a new language can be difficult and intimidating, especially if it’s been a long time since you’ve tried studying a new language. But it can be very rewarding to be able to communicate with different people using their language and it’s really handy to know more than one language if you’re planning on traveling a lot. There’s no shortcut to success, you have commit the time and energy to learning a new language. But here are some tips I can offer to help make learning a new language easier for you!
Tips for Learning a New Language
1 | Listen to It
One of the first and most enjoyable ways to begin learning a new language is to listen to it, trying to hear how it sounds and pick up words you recognize. I like to watch a tv show that I already know and like, but with the new language turned on for audio and English subtitles. This way, I can start to pick up phrases, learning what they mean by their context and the subtitles. And there’s not too much pressure to understand the plot since I already know it, so I can enjoy the show while focusing on the new language. This brings Netflix to a whole new level!
2 | Read it Side-by-Side
Pick up two copies of the same text, whether it’s a book or a newspaper or a magazine. And try to read through them very slowly, comparing the words and phrases as you go along. This helps you to better understand the spelling, grammar, and sentence composition of the new language. Plus it’s not as overwhelming as trying to listen, because you can work through it at a slow pace!
3 | Get Audio Lessons on your Phone
Audio lessons are a great tool for learning a new lesson. I like to use the language courses available on the Audible App because then I always have my lessons available on my phone (get your first month of Audible for free here). The lessons start with you listening to a conversation, then they break it down into its parts and teach you to understand and repeat back the phrases. You learn useful phrases really quickly this way! (The lessons I prefer are these ones.)
4 | Language Apps
Just like with audio lessons, it’s handy to have language apps on your phone for learning on the go! There are a bunch of good apps, like Duolingo, that teach you with pictures and games so it seems like fun instead of learning!
5 | Just try, even if you’re wrong!
I find it so intimidating to try to put into practice what I’ve been studying. Even if I’m sure I know the right phrase to use and how to say it, the act of actually saying it to a person in a real conversation makes me so nervous. I’m afraid I’ll say it wrong or they’ll look at me confused or I won’t understand what they say in response. But when I do work up the nerve to try saying a phrase, I know it helps my learning curve so much. You gain confidence if you get it right! And even if you get it wrong they’ll usually correct you or help you. So you definitely should just try to start speaking it as soon and as often as you can!
6 | Surround Yourself with It
Lastly, your best bet it to just surround yourself with the language. Go visit a place where it’s spoken, or find a language conversation buddy, or go to a discussion circle. Wherever you can, surround yourself by the language. You learn so much just by hearing it and trying to speak it and listening to other peoples’ conversations. When I was living in Guatemala, I picked up so many phrases just by being around the Spanish-speakers. Even if I wasn’t using language-learning tools, I think I would have learned a lot just by being around it and being forced to try to use it!
I think its great to try learning a new language, it can be so useful in your daily life and in your travels. Plus it challenges your mind and that’s always a good thing! So I hope you try learning a new language, and that these tips will help you do it.
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